Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Criteritron #6

The Criteritron is an occasional series in which I take a look at The Criterion Collection's vast offerings on HuluPlus and recommend a title to watch.

The Criteritron #6: Walkabout
Australia/UK 1971
Directed by Nicolas Roeg

What Is It?: A haunting, lyrical coming-of-age tale detailing the journey three youths take into an adult world that is harsher, more violent, and more emotionally complex than they were prepared for. A teenager (Jenny Agutter) and her little brother (Luc Roeg) find themselves alone in the Outback after their father (John Meillon) goes mad. The pair meet an aboriginal boy (David Gulpilil) on walkabout, and in spite of the linguistic and cultural barriers, the three become traveling companions and friends, after a sort.

Why Watch It?: Because you'll probably never see another movie like it. Walkabout is both metaphorically rich and visually captivating. Roeg and fellow cinematographer Tony Richmond capture the beauty and the danger of Australia's vast wilds, and editor Antony Gibbs combines their images into a sort of emotional montage. The result is that you feel the film's ideas far more than you think them. At the same time, the film is often surprisingly frank with the reality of both post-colonialism and burgeoning sexuality, both of which come to the fore during the children's time in the desert. Walkabout is not a difficult film to watch, exactly, but it speaks its own language, so it may not speak to everyone. I would tell you to hang in there with it, regardless, because it will imprint upon your mind, its images randomly popping into your subconscious for years to come.

Walkabout is available for purchase on DVD or Blu-ray, and either format can be rented from Netflix. You can also stream Walkabout on HuluPlus via any compatible device, or through the embedded player below the cut. 

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